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Young Women’s Drinking Can Raise Risk of Potentially Precancerous Breast Changes


Young women 18 to 22 who drink may be at increased risk of developing proliferative benign breast disease (BDD), a noncancerous condition that can in some cases lead to cancer. Drinking even moderate amount of alcohol appears to increase the risk, according to a new study.

The researchers examined alcohol intake of almost 30,000 women between ages 18 to 22, who did not have cancer or benign breast disease at the beginning of the study. They were followed for an average of 10 years. The study found the more alcohol a woman consumed, the greater the chance she would develop benign breast disease.

Researchers found that for each 10 grams of alcohol—the equivalent of about one drink—the young women consumed daily, their risk of developing BDD rose 15 percent, HealthDay reports.

The article notes the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between alcohol use and BDD.

The study appears in Pediatrics.

A study published last year suggested that teenage girls and young women with a family history of breast cancer should steer clear of alcohol. The study found those who had a drink a day on average were more than twice as likely as those who didn’t drink to develop benign breast disease.

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